Creativity is very subjective. While every photographer has an opinion as to what “being creative” means, we all experience the dreaded creative block sometimes. Here are 7 ways to help you get out of it and back to shooting great photographs.
1. Join a Photography Club
There is no better way to learn new techniques and improve your skills than to spend some time networking and chatting with other photographers. Not only will you get great insights from photographers working in different markets, some photography clubs also hold competitions, exhibits, workshops and art shows, and members often critique each other’s work.
2. Start a Personal Project and Set a Deadline
Some photographers find they work better when on a deadline, while others prefer the freedom of not being pressured. Working on a personal photography project is a lot like working for clients, except you have all the time in the world — personal projects often take a back seat because of that. Setting a reasonable deadline can have a positive impact on creativity, forcing you to work on your personal project and get it done.
3. Give a Different Creative Outlet a Try
Sometimes we get so hung up in our work that we can’t see what’s right in front of us. If you suffer from a bad case of creative block, try a completely different creative outlet like writing or music. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re not a skilled writer or a great musician. The goal here is to focus your attention and your mind on something that is unrelated to photography. When you pick up your camera again you will surely see things differently.
4. Put Your Camera Away For a Couple Days
It’s a known fact that photographers like to bring their camera everywhere they go — on vacation, to the restaurant, and to every event they attend. What about seeing the world with your own eyes rather than through your viewfinder? If you don’t have your camera with you, you are not constrained by ISO, aperture, f-stops, or buttons and dials. You can think more freely about composition and what makes a scene or subject interesting.
5. Look at Your Past Work And See How Much You’ve Improved
Have a look at photos you’ve taken a year ago, or 10 years ago. You should clearly see how much you’ve improved since. Feeling like you are getting better at your craft is a great way to get the creative juices flowing again. Try to find some photos in your library that you would like to revisit or that you would shoot differently today if the opportunity presented itself. Diving into your photo library can spark some fantastic ideas for a personal project.
6. Always Be Learning
You may already know a lot about photography and the specific niche you work in, but there are surely things you can do to improve your skills. Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge, but perfecting your skills, or learning new ones, is still a great way to get out of a creativity block. Be curious and remember that learning fosters creativity.
7. Try a Radically Different Style of Photography
If you’re a street shooter, go photograph some landscapes next week-end. If you’re a portrait photographer, give macro photography a try. The idea is to break your mold and see the world with the eyes (or viewfinder, rather) of another photographer.Broaden your horizon — you may enjoy the experience so much that you’ll make this part of your routine or discover a new passion.
Top image by Africa Studio.